Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Thursday, December 31, 2015
We’ve all been in the embarrassing situation where we knew what we wanted to say to someone, but we were tongue-tied. For some reason necessary words just wouldn’t come out. This is an frustrating experience that no one relishes. There are other situations, however, usually when we’re angry, when we know exactly what we want to say and have a mouthful of unkind words ready to spew. This is when God calls us to keep our tongues tied on His behalf. This effort can be equally frustrating and embarrassing.
One of the most difficult tests given a Christian is how he or she reacts to insults. Insults may come predictably at work from a surly coworker, or they may occur unexpectedly from a store clerk, teacher, even a fellow parishioner. Rudeness knows no boundaries. Put-downs can come in different forms– the regular jabs and affronts from a family member or the spontaneous and unprovoked slam from a complete stranger that cuts like a knife. It’s hard to determine which is worse, the sudden or the chronic. The sudden offenses jar us from our complacency like a lightning bolt striking our sensibilities, whereas the chronic is a source of dreaded grief that gnaws at our psyche. In either case, when for no reason someone viciously attacks us verbally, our natural reaction is to lash back and give them a piece of our mind.
As Christians, we are called to do what is foreign to our nature. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9). The book of 1 Peter provides numerous exhortations to cast off our natural inclinations and to take on normal, Christ-like qualities that bear the brunt of the abuse. He tells us, “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God (1 Peter 2:19) and “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” (1 Peter 2:20).
Peter is calling us to keep our tongues tied when every emotion inside us is calling for us to lash out and tell the person off. He is telling us that by keeping our tongues tied we will receive eternal blessings from God. He informs us that keeping our tongue tied is a character trait He values highly and expects us to do as a measure of our obedience. We typically forget how often we insult God with our actions and words, yet He is faithful to forgive us in His infinite grace.
How ironic Peter’s advice is, coming from one who so often got himself into trouble by impetuous speech and actions! But Peter the Apostle was a changed man from Peter the Disciple. He was able to change because of his love for and obedience to the LORD Jesus Christ. He had witnessed personally Christ’s example to us and reminds us “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:22-23). Peter is telling us that if the Holy Spirit has the power to change him, He has to power to change us. Peter had been indwelled with the same Holy Spirit that we have today, whose power us able to help us take control of any situation and keep our tongues tied.
God tells us through His Word it is normal to keep our tongues tied when our sinful flesh wishes to hurl insults instead. If you have held your tongue and suffered the brunt of the abuse recently or in the past, be comforted to know you received favor in God’s eyes and you will blessed for your obedience. If you have failed, know that He will forgive you and that He will give you the strength to endure whatever evil words come your way.
Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek. David counsels us, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” (Psalm 34: 12-16). David’s son Solomon warns us against gossip and other speech (Proverbs 26:25). James details the troubles that can be created by a loose and violent tongue (James 3:1-12). God’s servants are in agreement – it’s normal to keep your tongue tied.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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